Source: Twitter (@JacksonsBread)

William Jackson Food Group grew sales by over 35% and cut losses last year, thanks to a resurgent foodservice market and its supply partnership with Co-op.

The Jacksons Bakery, Abel & Cole and Belazu owner posted a 35.2% sales jump in the year to 30 April 2022 to £305.9m, more than reversing its 9.6% drop in sales in the previous period.

It attributed the jump in sales to a “faster than expected” recovery in its foodservice business as Covid restrictions eased in the first half.

Additionally, bakery sales were significantly higher, driven by the signing of an own-label bread supply contract to the Co-op, alongside Warburtons, in 2021.

On the flip side, its DTC sales retrenched, falling back 14.8% as the wider online grocery market declined in the wake of the post-Covid boom.

The group remained loss-making on an operating level, though losses before exceptional items fell sharply – from £21m to £4.5m.

The group said this improvement had been driven by “strong cost control” developed during the pandemic and “tight capital expenditure”.

Overall pre-tax, pre-interest losses were £8.8m compared to £32.3m in the prior period as the group took a £4.3m exceptional charge related to writedowns ahead of the sale of its MyFresh Prepared Produce business in June 2022.

The group noted market challenges persist during the current financial year, but that it is a “much stronger business than we were entering the pandemic, both financially and in our ability to remain agile and react quickly to new challenges”.

It said opportunities for growth outweigh potential risks and uncertainties and, as such, it will continue to invest in the business and draw on its strong balance sheet and cash reserves.